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June 22, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:04 PM :: 2934 Views

How to make housing affordable in Hawaii

Patrick Branco Part of 'Gay Victory' Plan for CD2

HVCB Protest Focuses on CNHA-Stacked Selection Committee

SA: It’s turnabout time.

The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau filed a protest Tuesday alleging that the Hawaii Tourism Authority violated state procurement when awarding its largest piece of business, the U.S. brand management and global support services contract, to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement….

HVCB President and CEO John Monahan did not respond to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s request for comment. However, on Tuesday, Monahan sent a communication to HVCB members, saying,I want to inform you that today HVCB filed a formal protest of HTA’s decision to award the US Leisure contract for re-solicited RFP No. 22-01 to the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA). Our protest is allowed under both HTA’s RFP specifications and HRS § 103D and HAR § 3-126-4….

Sources familiar with HVCB said it likely questioned whether changes that HTA made during the second contract solicitation to the request for proposal parameters and the procurement process were fair.

They said HVCB could have made a case that questioned HTA’s decision to adjust the scoring model so there was less emphasis on marketing during the second procurement. The sources pointed out that HTA significantly changed the makeup of the evaluation committee in April when it re-solicited the contract. They said HVCB also could challenge the overall qualifications of the second selection committee and of CNHA’s team.

The second request for proposals committee, which did not include any hoteliers, picked CNHA over HVCB by a wide margin, according to public documents obtained by the Star-Advertiser. The average score among the committee members for HVCB in the second round was 77.51 out of 100, and was 90.5 for CNHA.

During the second solicitation, three of the eight judges scored CNHA above 90. HTA senior brand manager Iwalani Kuali‘i-Kaho‘ohanohano gave the team a perfect score. HTA Chief Brand Officer Kalani Ka‘ana‘ana rated CNHA at 95. Mahina Paishon-Duarte, a social entrepreneur with two Hawaii-based businesses and co-founder of Waiwai Collective, rated CNHA at 99.

HVCB supporters are asking how Ka‘ana‘ana, Paishon-Duarte and Kuali‘i-Kaho‘ohanohano could have given CNHA perfect scores in the category for overall qualifications of its firm and personnel, when the organization’s contract proposal left key jobs vacant and listed some transition team members, who later said CNHA misrepresented their involvement, most notably Hawaii Hotel Alliance President Jerry Gibson….

HVCB supporters are claiming that the committee in the second round favored CNHA. There were eight committee members for the second contract solicitation. Arakawa, Kam, Ka‘ana‘ana and Paishon-Duarte returned to serve on the second RFP evaluation committee. New evaluators included state Harbors Administrator Davis Yogi; Kualoa Ranch President and owner John Morgan; Nalani Brun, director of Kauai County’s Office of Economic Development; and Kuali‘i-­Kaho‘ohanohano….

HVCB supporters have questioned HTA’s decision to allow the participation of Kuali‘i-Kaho‘ohanohano, who gave CNHA a perfect score during the second process. She recently worked for Hawaiian Airlines, and former Hawaiian Airlines executive Ann Botticelli is among the leadership that CNHA has tapped to work on the HTA contract….  

HNN: “it feels rigged,” said Keith Vieira of KV and Associates and a former hotel executive

June 15, 2022: CNHA Got Contract by Kicking Tourism Industry Professionals off Committee and Lying About Transition Team

read … Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau files protest over tourism contract award

SHOPO: Extortion, Blackmail at the Top?

SA Editorial: … A civil lawsuit filed by an ousted vice president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers against top-ranking SHOPO officials has cracked open a view into discord inside the police union, and prompted a criminal investigation into SHOPO’s highest- ranking officers.

The court case and investigation by the Honolulu Police Department must be closely watched, not only for signs of malfeasance within SHOPO, but as evidence of HPD’s standard of operations.

The dispute within the union went public in May when HPD Sgt. David Leonard “Ka­wika” Hallums, a former SHOPO vice president, filed a civil suit alleging executive board members, the general manager and SHOPO counsel conspired to remove him.

Hallums alleges he was falsely accused of theft by double-dipping into travel funds from both the union and HPD, and threatened with criminal prosecution if he refused to submit his “voluntary” resignation. His suit names SHOPO President Robert Cavaco and Vice President Stephen Keogh, eight other board members, General Manager James “Kimo” Smith and counsel Randal Yoshida.

After reviewing the civil complaint, HPD opened a misdemeanor extortion case investigation. Cavaco and Keogh, who issued a statement calling Hallums’ allegations “lies,” have been placed on restrictive duty.

In his lawsuit, Hallums alleges he was targeted, in part, because he exposed Cavaco and Keogh for using their positions for personal gain….

As the SHOPO dispute wends its way through civil court, it serves the public to keep procedures and findings in the open. A sealed court file, for instance, will only heighten speculation that bad behavior is being buried….

read … HPD must choose to be fair, open

Hawaii reports 5,482 COVID cases, 15 new deaths

KHON: … There are 3,785 coronavirus cases on Oahu, 579 on the Big Island, 326 on Kauai, 9 on Lanai, 635 on Maui, 21 on Molokai, and 127 diagnosed out of state.

That brings the state total to 303,333.

The state death toll rose to 1,489.

The state stands at 77.9% of vaccinated residents.

The daily average cases are 832 and the average test positivity rate is 17.1%.

Here is an in-depth weekly COVID case breakdown >>> from the DOH’s website… 

HTH: COVID cases decline for third week      

read … Hawaii reports 5,482 COVID cases, 15 new deaths

Hu Honua`s $1,000,000,000 Lawsuit Against HECO

IM: … Hu Honua began construction in late October 2012, but was unable to complete the facility by the end of 2015, as contemplated by the Hu Honua PPA, because of disputes with its construction contractor, labor union issues, and related litigation. HELCO cancelled the contract.

Hu Honua filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against HECO, MECO, HELCO, NextEra, and Hamakua Energy Partners. The cases were heard by District Judge J. Michael Seabright.

Hamakua Energy Partners provide a listing from Hawaii state court records of 28 different legal actions against Hu Honua during this time period, including one that resulted in Hu Honua losing control of the facility until it paid a stipulated judgment.

The court found that Hu Honua was unable to complete its biomass power plant as required by the express terms of the PPA. Labor disputes, financing problems, and litigation with its construction contractors — all completely independent of NextEra, and its proposed merger with HECO — caused an extended loss of time and delayed the completion of construction of the Hu Honua Facility, setting in motion the chain of events leading to the Hu Honua lawsuit.

The court found that, rather than inferring an illegal antitrust conspiracy from the timing of the proposed merger, the obvious alternative explanation for HELCO's termination of the PPA — Hu Honua's own nonperformance — rendering Hu Honua's conspiracy allegations implausible. Hu Honua’s federal antitrust claims lack plausibility as to both NextEra and Hamakua Energy Partners.

HECO suggested mediation. The secret settlement requires that HECO and HELCO work with Hu Honua in getting a new PPA approved. HELCO signed a new Power Purchase Agreement with Hu Honua and filed it with the Commission in 2017.

The federal lawsuit remains hanging over HECO.  Federal Judge J. Michael Seabright, Chief United States District Judge, issued the most recent decision on November 9, 2018: “Although the Hawaiian Electric Defendants have entered into a settlement agreement, those claims remain in the action because the settlement was (and still is) awaiting a final decision of the PUC approving the renegotiated PPA between Hu Honua and HELCO.”…

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission rejected the PPA in May 2022. HELCO and Hu Honua filed Motions for Reconsideration. Life of the Land, Tawhiri Power, and the Consumer Advocate filed objections. The Commission is expected to uphold its decision next week.

Hu Honua is anticipated to file an appeal to the Hawaii Supreme Court in July ("HECO IV").

If the HELCO-Hu Honua Power Purchase Agreement is eventually approved, the federal lawsuit dies. But if the HELCO-Hu Honua Power Purchase Agreement is ultimately rejected, then the federal lawsuit comes alive….

read … Hu Honua`s $1,000,000,000 Lawsuit Against HECO

Former Navy diver describes Red Hill contamination: ‘We were up against a huge problem’

HNN: … Senior Chief Master Diver Brian Simic, 40, led a team of seven Navy divers in late December and early January. They used white absorbent bags and skimmers to try and contain the contamination.

“We are using that skimmer to suck just the surface, the very top of the water where the contamination was suspected to be the most,” Simic said. “You can smell the fuel. Once you enter the well itself, the conditions are very poor for breathing.”

“We were up against a huge problem,” he added. “We didn’t have the capabilities to really make any lasting improvement on the well,” he added.

The divers who went in had dry suits and breathing apparatus while those directing them, like Simic, only wore their uniforms.

“Your clothes were completely saturated in fuel,” he said….

In early December, Brian’s wife Jamie spoke about her family’s illnesses from drinking the tainted water.

“How long have I been poisoning myself and the kids,” she said.

Days later, she spoke out again from her hospital bed at Tripler Army Medical Center.

“To see the fuel contamination for myself with my wife as sick as she was, that was hard,” said Brian Simic.

After 20 years of service, Simic had enough and retired from the Navy. The family now lives in Florida….

read … Former Navy diver describes Red Hill contamination: ‘We were up against a huge problem’

Hawaii teacher accused of child sex assault, child porn crimes to remain behind bars

HNN: … The Pearl City High School substitute teacher accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy during school lunch breaks will remain behind bars at least until late July.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that 34-year-old Alden Bunag is a danger to the community and a flight risk.

“We have concerns based on Mr. Bunag’s ties to the Philippines. If he was released he could pose a flight risk to the Philippines,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Perlmutter said in a detention hearing.

Bunag’s attorney, Jacquelyn Esser, said that her client had no criminal records but agreed to his remaining in custody in the Federal Detention Center without bail until late July when a new detention hearing can be held…

Prosecutors alleged Bunag recorded his alleged sex assaults against his former student. He then exchanged the videos with another teacher in Philadelphia who was also charged with distributing child pornography, they said….

SA: Pearl City substitute teacher remains jailed on pornography charges

read … Hawaii teacher accused of child sex assault, child porn crimes to remain behind bars

Green Energy Initiative 100% Fake--After 14 years Hawaiʻi still has a long way to go when it comes to cutting carbon emissions

HPR: … Melissa Miyashiro, executive director of the Blue Planet Foundation, says Hawaiʻi’s per capita emissions hover around 15 metric tons per year. That’s on par with other states, but it’s three times the global average.

Hawaiʻi as a whole is pouring over 20 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere about every year, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The transportation sector is responsible for the majority of the state’s emissions….

read … Hawaiʻi has a long way to go when it comes to cutting carbon emissions

Honolulu City Council considering examining city hiring process to address high vacancy rate

SA: … The Honolulu City Council is considering auditing the Department of Human Resources to examine its selection and hiring process as the city faces filling about 3,000 vacant positions.

(CLUE: Vacant positions create a slush fund for overtime necessary to get ‘Top Three’.)

There are about 11,600 total positions at the city….

“I introduced this because we’ve heard from various city agencies and departments that when they interview people for these vacant positions, it takes over a year to get processed sometimes and by the time they make the offer to the employee, they’ve accepted other employment,” he said during the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee meeting Tuesday….

read … Honolulu City Council considering examining city hiring process to address high vacancy rate

S.B. 2379 Hawaii Empowers Tax Agency To Enforce Compliance

L360: … Hawaii authorized a section of its Department of Taxation to investigate potential noncompliance with state tax laws under a bill signed by the governor Friday ….

S.B. 2379: Text, Status

read … Hawaii Empowers Tax Agency To Enforce Compliance

S.B. 2475: Hawaii Exempts Some Shipping Services From Excise Taxes

L360: … Hawaii will exempt certain shipping-related fees and services from general excise taxes under a bill signed by the governor.  S.B. 2475, which Democratic Gov. David Ige approved Friday, clarifies that amounts…

(This will reduce pyramiding effects of the GE Tax.)

S.B. 2475: Text, Status

read … Hawaii Exempts Some Shipping Services From Excise Taxes

Remember Tsuneyoshi Dirty Tricks from Past Elections?

CTS: … My own personal experiences with the Tsuneyoshi couple is from during my city council campaign in 2018. Chad was helping his wife Heidi.

We had one of the more nasty campaigns that include mysterious negative attacks through social media, stolen or vandalized political banners and so on. It was one of those “in your face” tactics that everybody can logically guess which campaign camp the perpetrators were from. But nobody had the time or resources to get to the bottom of it.

CIVIL BEAT: ” Envelopes sent with no return address arrived at homes across north Oahu this summer. Inside were flyers criticizing the political record of Robert “Bobby” Bunda, one of four candidates in the Honolulu City Council District 2 race.

Dave Burlew, a Kahuku farmer also running for the seat, was shocked to receive one of these letters and even more surprised to find “VOTE DAVE BURLEW FOR CITY COUNCIL!!” at the bottom of the flyer along with his P.O. box number.

“That’s when it got ugly,” Burlew said.

Burlew said he does not know who is responsible for the flyers. Heidi Tsuneyoshi and Choon James, the two other candidates in the race, also say they have no knowledge of where the letters come from. “ ….

2018: False Name Anti-Bunda Mailers Blanket North Shore

read … Elections 2022: Honolulu City Council District 2 has five candidates

Maui County Council Advances Resolutions On Monster House 

CB: … One of the resolutions calls for a formal investigation into how the house in Napili was allowed to be built despite being in violation of numerous building codes ….

MN: Council committees to mull eminent domain, investigation of approval

read … Maui County Council Advances Resolutions On Monster House 

Why So Many Hawaii Nurses Want To Leave The Profession

CB: … A University of Hawaii survey, which was released last month, found that sentiment is widespread….

In the online survey of 421 nurses, 23% of the respondents said they had considered leaving their jobs, citing safety concerns, family and caregiver strain and job fatigue, among other reasons. Nearly a quarter of those who considered leaving were planning to retire, while 21.6% said they no longer wanted to be a health care provider….

read … Why So Many Hawaii Nurses Want To Leave The Profession

Soft on Crime: Escape Work Furlough, Murder Woman

KHON: … Tyler Adams was arrested in Hawaii for first- and second-degree theft. Back in May of 2019, he was an OCCC laumaka work furlough inmate who didn’t return. The Department of Public Safety told KHON2 that “Law Enforcement here in Hawaii continued to pursue leads through that time but the leads ran cold.” At the time of his escape, PSD said at the time of his escape the public and law enforcement was notified….

“The multiple identities feeds into his criminal history, the forgeries the thefts what we would call white-collar crime,” said William McNamara of San Diego FBI Public Affairs.

The bureau doesn’t know how he got to the mainland, but they say he was romantically involved with Raquel Sabean in San Diego before they moved to Tijuana, Mexico in April. The FBI said the two had a 7-month-old child.

Mexican authorities reportedly found Sabean’s car and decomposed body. Authorities contacted Adams in Mexico after issuing an amber alert for the baby, who was safe. They said he then presented a fake ID at the border to sneak past customs and border patrol.

“That enabled him to pass through really undetected or without further inspection. Obviously, if he had used an identification in his true name the warrant out of Hawaii would’ve hit and would’ve put him into further scrutiny and likely been arrested off of that warrant,” McNamara said.

Adams still hasn’t been found. State Senator Lynn DeCoite, the acting chair of the Public Safety Committee, said she just met with PSD about the work furlough program’s safeguards….

read … ‘Master of Disguise’ still wanted in Hawaii

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